1994: City, PAC dispute funding as water system falls apart

by: ARCHIVE PHOTO - The caption to this 1974 photo reads: 'The Estacada Grade School Band paused for the photographer after demonstrating their skills to Estaacada merchants and observers. The band marched through stores, drums beating and horns blaring in prepartion for their annual trip to Portland to play in the Junior Rose Festival Parade.'


A 15-year-old Estacada boy drowned while trying to rescue a dog from the Clackamas River near Lackaby Campground.

The dog was able to swim ashore.


City officials said Estacada’s water system was in dire need of repairs and was literally falling apart. Hence, two water funding measures for a proposed $2.5 million renovation and expansion project were set to appear on the September 1994 ballot.

Most of the system had been installed 20 years prior and had not been substantially upgraded since then.

Officials discussed several problems with the system, one of which put the city in violation of the Federal Clean Drinking Water Act.

Under regulations passed earlier in 1994, water treated with chlorine was required to remain in a tank for a period of time before being pumped to customers.

In order to meet the new regulations, City Superintendent Bill Strawn told the paper that the system needed a 340,000 gallon chlorine contact tank. The city had a 78,000 gallon tank at the time.

In May 1994, state health officials ordered the city to expand its treatment system or find another water source by October 1995.

Further, thanks to an outdated telemetry system, the entire water plant would shut down in the event of a power outage.

The system was supposed to regulate water flow by the level in the reservoirs.

However, Strawn said the system was broken and shut off during power outages.

As both of the city’s reservoirs were at high elevations, they began to drain when the system’s pumps shut down during power outages.

Both reservoirs would be empty within 24 hours once the power was out, Strawn said.

Proposed improvements were intended to make the system functional and to prepare for necessary expansion of the system.

Voters were set to decide in September 1994 whether to raise $1.3 million by raising water rates or through general obligation bonds. The money would be matched with a $1.2 million federal grant.

Critics claimed that the water system could probably be fixed for much less money.

Officials acknowledged the possibility but argued that it was more prudent to invest in the system’s inevitable expansion immediately as the federal government was offering to pay for nearly half the $2.5 million project.

Critics of the water funding formed a PAC called “Citizens’ Voice” with former mayor Tom Nelson at the helm.

Robert Santangelo, a Citizens’ Voice spokesman said voters should have been given the option for just bringing the system up to standard.


The body of a 19-year-old murder victim was dumped near Eagle Fern Park.

Jonathan Killoran, 20, and his mother, Terry Killoran, 38, and her boyfriend Jason Boyce, 26, all of Salem were arrested in connection to the homicide of Christopher Lee Hanson.


The Estacada City Council held a business social to get feedback from the community.

Business leaders discussed the need for a unified approach to Estacada’s economic development. Several people mentioned they would like for the city to have an economic developer or city planner.

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